By Maria Thimothy, Sr. Consultant at OneIMS
Today's events are unprecedented and challenging for everyone. However, there's always a lesson to be learned.
It seems that just about every day we hear about the "essentials" in terms of businesses that can continue to operate. This got me thinking about what it means to become indispensable to our clients, employers, families and friends during difficult times. Why? No one likes the alternative -- losing clients or losing your job.
A few years back, I read The Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? by Seth Godin. As a consultant, I know firsthand that it's easy to be fired. Sometimes it's due to a change in the client's organization -- a new CEO, a new hire, or finances.
To avoid becoming nonessential to your customers and clients today, here's what I've learned about becoming indispensable:
Go above and beyond.
This may sound like a cliché, but it's all about demonstrating that you are willing to do more without being asked. That may mean working into the evening to help a client launch a campaign or responding to an urgent message over the weekend. It's not expected, and that's what makes it meaningful.
Show you care.
We all know individuals who show up to the party but never help set up or clean up. Showing that you care, and that you truly want to help, makes a big difference in determining whether someone thinks of you as indispensable. Show that you care not just by thinking about them when you have to, but also randomly through surprise-and-delight moments. Sending a quick note to check in on someone or following up on a client's recent launch will be remembered.
Give each project your best.
Doing what's easy might be the quick solution, but it's not always the best one. Rather than just focusing on getting someone off your back or getting something over with, try to give your best every time. As a consultant, this means guiding clients toward better campaigns and better execution. Sure, we can easily focus on quick fixes, but what if an alternative solution will deliver better short- or long-term returns? That may mean additional work, but you'll be appreciated for not taking the easy way out.
Listen more than you talk.
Listening intently to someone always demonstrates your respect and interest. Whether it's a client or a good friend, listening goes a long way. Next time you're meeting with a client or a friend, make it a point to let them talk rather than making yourself the center of the conversation.
Show up when no one else will.
This truly hits home when I think about our current situation, as many people need support now more than ever. When working with clients, showing up may mean being available and willing to help when others wouldn't be. I've worked from airports across the world simply to make sure I didn't leave anyone hanging. Yes, even on holidays. When you show up consistently, your clients know that you aren't there only for the good times.
As a consultant, getting the boot is one of the worst feelings. That's why I've learned to be grateful for every client who puts their trust in me. It's easy to take your clients, employer, family or friends for granted. Take every opportunity possible to thank your customers, employers, friends and family for the opportunities and support they've given you.
Start being indispensable today.
During challenging times, it's important to reflect on what we can do better for the future. Becoming indispensable to your clients, your employer and those around you means that you'll be around through the good times and the bad. Take this time to determine if you're going above and beyond. If not, don't be surprised if you're given the boot when things get tough.
Maria Thimothy, Sr. Consultant at OneIMS, helps businesses grow by creating and capturing demand and managing and nurturing relationships.